Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Mrs. Roemerfeld - 1982?

Outbreak of War

I see. Okay um, I'd like you to please recall if you can um, where you were when you heard that the war had broken out and how you heard about it.

Well, I can briefly recall the running and the screaming from people and-- when the Germans came in. And we heard bombs falling. We were running to the fields and we went into a tall building to hide in the basement. And uh, afterwards we came back and the house was robbed. Whether it was robbed by Polish people or whoever did it, I...everything was turned over. And uh, my mother naturally was upset and my father was upset. And uh, then we got everything put together. But our business was immediately closed because the Germans were not allowing anybody to have any business open, especially Jews.

You mean the grocery store your mother ran...


or the furrier?

Right, right. The furrier my father only worked seasons. It was like seasons he worked. For a firm, he took in uh, work and worked at home.

For a Gentile family he worked.

No, no.

It was a Jewish.

Jewish. Because uh, Jewish people uh, as you know, you're familiar with flea markets.


They had stands and you know, they were selling it in the weekend uh, for uh, Polish--not in the weekend like Sabbath--let's say like uh, from Thursday until Friday noon they were selling to the Gentile farmers. They were coming into the city to buy and also there were fish markets. Like the Jews were buying fish for Sabbath and uh, that's the most business the European Jews in our town, you know, had been doing uh. So it was just like a season business of my uh, my father's.

You said that you had a uh, a maid in your home.


Was she a Gentile maid?

Yes, she was uh, from a farm and she was French. And uh, she even taught me how to count ten and up until this day I remember how to count ten in French. But as I stated before, it was not because of luxuries, it was just of necessities. And maids in Europe were not expensive at all. They were just, you know, for a little something. The food or shelter, they would do it because they had it much worse on the farm.

Did you continue to have this maid during the war?

Oh no, oh no. That ended right--everything ended with--in 1939 September. I do not recall the date, I believe it was September 10th. So uh, um, I mean, things really changed dramatically uh, and from then on it was downhill.

Did you feel any anti-Semitism from this maid that you had?

Not at all, no, no. She went home in the weekends, you know, on her farm. And uh, she did her job and that's all she did. Uh, you know, it was no uh, such uh, feelings at all because uh, she knew she had to fulfill her job.

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